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I found this book to be more of a long meditation on the consequences of secrets revealed, perceived betrayal, and acceptance of loss.
One day, over thirteen years after it happened, Kat Williams sees the face of her next-door neighbor on television in conjunction with a murder. She feels it is her duty to turn him in. But later on, she is sorry that she did.
Ethan Ford has been living an exemplary life in Monroe, Massachusetts since a few days after that long-ago murder. He had been on his way somewhere else when he happened to stop in Monroe for a drink and ran into Jory, the girl he eventually married. They have been madly, passionately in love ever since. And Ethan has been an active member of the volunteer fire department, a coach for the little league team, and the owner of a small business (he repairs and remodels homes) for much of that time. He and Jory have a son, Collie, who is Kat Williams’ best friend.
The people in Monroe have strong opinions about the murder charges. Some of them, jealous of Ethan and Jory’s happiness, are only too happy to believe the worst, and begin to vilify him publicly and insult Jory and Collie to their faces. But many of the others – those who have worked with him in the fire department, and in particular the plumber he works with on the home remodeling and the lawyer who coaches the little league team with him – are immediately certain that it can’t be true. Or that if it is, he should receive clemency for his good behavior ever since.
The most surprising reactions, however, are those of his wife and son. At first, of course, they are in shock and don’t believe it. But once Ethan confesses to them, they feel somehow betrayed, and while much of the rest of the town launches a campaign to save Ethan, Jory and Collie find they can no longer bear to face him.
Jory undertakes a journey to the scene of the crime trying to understand what happened. And somewhere along the way her relationship with her lifelong best friend, who has tried all along to be supportive, but who has just been diagnosed with cancer, becomes of more immediate importance to her than her relationship with the husband who kept such a devastating secret from her for more than a decade.
My favorite character is Kat. She is a rather hard bitter person for a young teenager, but some of this is because she has her own problems. Her father committed suicide almost exactly a year earlier, and she is still trying to deal with this. This allows her to understand Collie better and help him with his feelings. Her methods of working out her own salvation are interesting, to say the least.
I thought the narrator did a good job. I was a little taken aback by her accent for some of the characters at first until I realized she was giving them a Massachusetts accent. You get used to hearing southern, western, and country accents specifically given to characters. It is more unusual to hear discernable northern accents in a performance.
What did you love best about Blue Diary?
The solid story.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Jory. Honest, fair and truly in love with her roles as wife, mother and friend.
Which scene was your favorite?
When Jory went searching for the truth about her husband.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
When Jory decides to leave behind her old life in order to secure a better life for her son.
Any additional comments?
A well written page-turner.
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